Love it or hate it, Fox Soccer Channel is the number one source for Premier League matches on U.S. television. Sure it could be better. But I don’t believe it’s ever going to be Sky Sports or BBC, or even ESPN. But what it does do is provide essential viewing for soccer fans throughout the United States. Without it, our lives would be completely different, at least for most of us who are addicted to watching the beautiful game.
But no matter how important Fox Soccer Channel is to the Premier League viewing experience in the States, there is room for improvement.
Here’s my top 7 ways that I believe Fox Soccer Channel can be improved. And one of them isn’t that it needs to convince Comcast to carry Fox Soccer Channel in HD or Fox Soccer Plus, no matter how much I wish that would come true!
- Remove the fluff. It’s time to remove the shows that may be good filler, but they’re not worth watching. Shows such as Football Superstar, Football Asia, J-League Highlights and Fox Soccer Match Day,
- Reduce the number of reruns. Not counting the new episode each night, Fox Soccer Report is scheduled to rerun 21 times next week. There are a few other shows that don’t need to rerun as much too, such as the Premier League Review Show, but they’re currently not rerun nearly as much as Fox Soccer Report is.
- Provide must-see programming outside of the actual games. There are some weeks where I’m watching very little Fox Soccer Channel outside of the actual Premier League and Champions League games. But sometimes there is very little reason to watch. I admire Fox’s decision to show the Premier League Archives (classic games from the past decade), but there must be a ton of programming out there that would be worth buying. What about the US rights to the Brian Clough documentary? What about 101 Great Goals or 501 Great Goals? What about old episodes of Match Of The Day? What about old NASL games? There must be hundreds of hours of footage available of quality programming and it doesn’t have to be modern.
- Create a show around Bobby McMahon. Fox Soccer Channel’s most valuable asset isn’t featured on the network as much as he should. The man is a walking talking soccer encyclopedia, who is also affable and someone you’d want to listen to or watch for hours.
- Tap more into Premier League Productions. The much hyped programming available from Premier League Productions hasn’t been seen yet, at least not a lot of it. The production quality of the actual games and pre- and post-match have been improved, but Premier League Productions was supposed to offer networks such as Fox Soccer Channel access to tens of hours of additional programming centered around the Premier League. The US audience would eat this up, if given an opportunity.
- Start games earlier to create more excitement. The way Fox opened up this past Sunday’s Liverpool against Chelsea match was a shame. The announcer had approximately 30 seconds to run through the team line-ups and to send the viewer over to Anfield for Peter Drury and Efan Ekoku to call the game. It was rushed and didn’t create the excitement or pre-match analysis that the game deserved. But Fox had the problem of trying to squeeze the Rome derby in from 9am-11am ET and then squeeze some commercials in before the Liverpool match started. So the rush was understandable. But what isn’t understandable is how Fox does the same thing for its Saturday 10am ET game and other Premier League games it shows. Dump Fox Soccer Match Day and use that time for a true pre-match buildup. And use the full coverage from the international feed which typically begins ten to twenty minutes before the actual game kicks off. And after the game, how about including the post-match interviews with the manager?
- Change Super Sunday + into a call-in show. I’ll give Fox Soccer Channel credit for trying to make Super Sunday + work. The show is a lot less stiff than Fox Soccer Match Day and, as a result, is more watchable. But the format of the show is all wrong. The time the show airs, immediately after the 11am ET Premier League match of the week, is perfect for a call-in show where fans can call him and debate the personalities on-air, as well as to discuss the other major stories from the weekend from all of the sports. But it needs to be caller-driven. Make it more interactive. Make it punchier. Make it must-see television.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with any of the above recommendations, or do you have ideas of your own of how to improve Fox Soccer Channel? Post them in the comments section below.
Thanks to EvertonfanKY for suggesting the topic as part of the EPL Talk Readers Choice Month. For the month of November, EPL Talk will be writing articles on topics that you choose. It’s part of EPL Talk’s celebrations of its five-year anniversary. Feel free to suggest your own article ideas today. And we’ll try to publish as many of them as we can between now and the end of the month.